Furious Dempster hits out after latest fan incident
Police take action after a fan confronted James Tavernier at Easter Road (pic: SNS Group)
Hibs 1 Rangers 1
Furious Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster vented her anger after a fan invaded the pitch to confront Rangers captain James Tavernier during a dramatic night of action in Edinburgh.
The Gers skipper was about to take a throw-in when the individual emerged from the home section, kicked the ball out of his hands and shoved the right-back in an incident which further damaged the image of Scottish football.
An outraged Tavernier confronted the person who had squared up to the player before police and stewards intervened to remove the guilty party.
During the Scottish Cup game against Celtic at Easter Road last weekend, a glass bottle was thrown at Scott Sinclair as he prepared to take a corner and Dempster couldn’t hide her fury after the latest flashpoint in Leith.
“Everything that has been written and said in the last week given what happened here with Scott Sinclair, to see this supporter – I’m not even going to call him a supporter – to see this idiot coming on to the pitch, I’m going to use the word unacceptable,” she said.
“I was going to call him a supporter but I won’t…it’s unacceptable!”
“A statement on the website isn’t good enough, we have to talk about this!” 😡
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 8, 2019
“A statement on the website is clearly not coming through. They’ve embarrassed this club tonight again, it’s completely and utterly unacceptable. How many supporters came into the stadium to enjoy what was a really good game and what are we going to be talking about tomorrow?
“What is going to be on the back pages of the paper? What are you going to be asking me about? You’re going to be asking me about this utter idiot.
“We’re very hard on supporters who misbehave. Maybe we don’t talk about it enough, maybe we should talk more about it. This individual will be banned for life from this stadium. He’s in custody at the minute and that’s where he should remain as far as I’m concerned.
“I had to write and apologise to Scott Sinclair this week which was absolutely the right thing to do. I’ve asked to speak to Mr Tavernier when he’s ready before he leaves to personally apologise to him because it’s unacceptable.
“But I would also like to say there are so many other people who came here tonight and enjoyed a brilliant game of football but this person has let us down badly again and I’m raging, I’m furious.”
She added: “I’m going to bring it back to personal responsibility. Who thought it was okay to come in here with a glass bottle and throw it? Who thinks it’s alright to jump over an advertising hoarding. Ninety-nine-point-nine per cent of the people in here don’t’ think it’s okay and we ought to remember not to tarnish these guys as well.
“But this person and people like him are going to feel the full weight of what we can deliver and hopefully what Police Scotland can deliver as well.”
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard said: “When we’re getting to the stage with fans running on to pitch, we’ve got a problem. That’s for Hibs and their security team to address. There’s nothing I can do to stop them.
“If it’s in someone’s head they’re going to run on the pitch, not much you can do to stop it.”
The incident detracted from another action-packed night of football drama which could well have ended Rangers’ aspirations of pushing table-topping Celtic all the way to the wire.
Rangers’ failure to convert their chances after Daniel Candeias’ superb opener late in the first half cost them dearly.
Hibs improved after the break and earned a share of the spoils when Florian Kamberi netted 14 minutes from time, though the visitors claimed there had been a foul in the build-up missed by referee Steven McLean.
Darren McGregor was then sent off for the home side in the 90th minute after a second yellow card
The draw means Celtic can go 10 points ahead of Rangers at the top of the table if they defeat Aberdeen at Parkhead tomorrow and Ibrox boss Gerrard all but conceded the title to his Glasgow rivals afterwards.
“We have only got ourselves to blame,” he said. “We were excellent in first 45 minutes but we weren’t clinical or ruthless enough. The game should have been done.
“The reason we’re not in a title race is because of nights like this. You can afford one a season but we’ve had five or six now.”